Reconciling Budget - Confusion when changing categories

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coloradotechie-p40
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Reconciling Budget - Confusion when changing categories

Postby coloradotechie-p40 » Sun Jan 24, 2010 1:44 pm

So, I'm trying to reconcile the budget category. I'm having to go through month-by-month for all of 2009. Because I've never done it before.

One thing I've noticed is that when I wrote checks back in March (and May, and August), the organization president told me that the check was written out of the wrong category (it was written out of an "Other" category and it should have been budget or vice-versa).

So, at the time the leader told me this (back in 2009 later in the year), I went back to the check and changed the category.

Well, this has now made reconciling the budget category month-by-month extremely difficult. The reason is (let's take August for example), my August CUFS statement says I spent $79.06 in a budget category (which was correct when the CUFS printed). But later on 20 Sep 2009 I changed the $79.06 to an "OTHER" category.

This change shows up in my September CUFS as a category adjustment (which is good), yet it makes reconciling each the budget category month-by-month nearly impossible b/c I've done this many times.

(What I mean is, MLS doesn't match the CUFS because MLS takes into account the adjustment and the CUFS doesn't... the CUFS is a point in time and MLS is up-to-date).

Am I doing this wrong? Do I just have to find the differences month-by-month and see if they are fixed in later months?

Do I need to reconcile the budget category for 2009 or should I just start doing it every month for 2010?

Thanks~!

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Sun Jan 24, 2010 3:35 pm

coloradotechie wrote:(What I mean is, MLS doesn't match the CUFS because MLS takes into account the adjustment and the CUFS doesn't... the CUFS is a point in time and MLS is up-to-date).

Am I doing this wrong? Do I just have to find the differences month-by-month and see if they are fixed in later months?


It's true that the CUFS only reflects expenses and corrections that have been processed only through the end date of the statement. So the challenges you have with reconciling the Budget category are the same as those you would have doing the main reconciliation if you do it long after the month has ended -- there may well be numerous corrections that have happened in MLS for the year up through the statement end date, but the corrections will appear on later statements.

So you have to treat those later corrections as outstanding, and as you do your reconciliation on paper for the Budget category, do the equivalent of Temporary Items to compensate for them. That may be more trouble than it's worth.

coloradotechie wrote:Do I need to reconcile the budget category for 2009 or should I just start doing it every month for 2010?


Reconciling the budget category is entirely optional. I started doing it long ago when I was a ward financial clerk so that I could find mistakes I had made or expenses (particularly direct debits) that I had neglected to enter. It's a tool for helping you find mistakes, not a required procedure.

As you have learned, it's much easier to do it month by month. So it's totally up to you, but it's certainly easier just to start with 2010.

crislapi
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Postby crislapi » Sun Jan 24, 2010 11:48 pm

Alan_Brown wrote:Reconciling the budget category is entirely optional. I started doing it long ago when I was a ward financial clerk so that I could find mistakes I had made or expenses (particularly direct debits) that I had neglected to enter. It's a tool for helping you find mistakes, not a required procedure.


Perhaps I'm misunderstanding something, but in my understanding, reconciling is not optional. Checking the reconciliations is part of the bi-annual audit process. Perhaps because the budget category should almost always reconcile thanks to the corresponding transfers your statement refers to just that category and not the reconciliation as a whole?

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mfmohlma
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Postby mfmohlma » Mon Jan 25, 2010 12:10 am

crislapi wrote:Perhaps I'm misunderstanding something, but in my understanding, reconciling is not optional. Checking the reconciliations is part of the bi-annual audit process. Perhaps because the budget category should almost always reconcile thanks to the corresponding transfers your statement refers to just that category and not the reconciliation as a whole?


Just a small misunderstanding. You're right that reconciliation is not optional. You're also right in that the budget category will almost always reconcile with a zero balance due to the transfers. The wiki article referenced in the original post describes a way to make sure you've entered all budget expenses based on the "Year to Date Summary" line on the CUFS. That process is optional, but is useful if you suspect you've forgotten to enter things like Distribution Center orders that get deducted automatically from your Budget account.

coloradotechie-p40
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Postby coloradotechie-p40 » Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:06 am

Thanks for the information. I've been doing the regular reconciliation every month and everything has come out fine (and we've had to do temporary adjustments until a later month when the item was fixed).

Perhaps for 2009 I'll just go through all the miscellaneous items in the budget column on the CUFS for each month and make sure there is a corresponding entry for that in MLS. (Since it was literally taking me hours to do yesterday and I'm already behind on my other responsibilities, I'm thinking I might forego Budget Category Reconciliation for 2009).

However, in running all of this over in my head, I'm wondering if this scenario is okay (I'm not sure if I should start a new thread or ask the question here :confused: )

Okay, I started a new thread because it is a standalone question.

Anyhow, thank you so much for your help in this... I might try 1 more hour of budget category reconciliation and if my brain explodes from having to do it on my own spreadsheet I might give up for 2009 until I make more time to go back through it.

Thanks~!

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mfmohlma
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Postby mfmohlma » Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:03 am

coloradotechie wrote:Anyhow, thank you so much for your help in this... I might try 1 more hour of budget category reconciliation and if my brain explodes from having to do it on my own spreadsheet I might give up for 2009 until I make more time to go back through it.


There's no real need to spend a lot of time on it. At this point, you can simply pull up the budget report for 2009 in MLS and compare the amount spent with the Year to Date on the December statement. If they're not wildly different, I wouldn't worry about it.

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:11 am

I guess the question is what would one gain from doing the optional 2009 budget reconciliation at this point? Were 2009 funds carried over to 2010? If not, then I'd be real tempted to just move on.
Have you searched the Wiki?
Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:26 am

RussellHltn wrote:I guess the question is what would one gain from doing the optional 2009 budget reconciliation at this point? Were 2009 funds carried over to 2010? If not, then I'd be real tempted to just move on.


Even if the stake allows a ward to carry over 2009 funds into 2010, the stake would use its own calculations based on the Stake Financial Summary, not trust the individual wards' MLS records. MLS resets budget numbers to 0 at the beginning of the year, and wards have to enter the new budget allocation figures provided by the stake. So I don't see that as a factor.

The one significant benefit I see is that it makes the records accurate for audit purposes. If you've missed recording a big DC order in MLS, and an auditor decides to examine that expense, not having it in MLS would be a problem.

But even at that, an audit exception is not the end of the world. If the process is taking several hours, I would tend to agree that it's not worth it. Just start the process in 2010 and do it faithfully. I find it takes me only 5-10 minutes extra per month when I stay on top of it. As with all MLS reconciliations, doing it very promptly right after the month ends will limit the number of corrections you have to account for.

coloradotechie-p40
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Postby coloradotechie-p40 » Mon Jan 25, 2010 12:35 pm

Thank you all for your feedback. If I recall, the numbers aren't wildly different and I think part of the problem comes from applying DC order expenses to a Budget category AND an Other category (or maybe just applying the DC order to the other category entirely (which I now know I shouldn't do).

I might spend some more time doing this, it all really depends on this:

What happens when I find errors that need to be fixed? Here are some of the problems that I think I've seen so far:


  • DC Orders being applied to the Other category (or partially applied to the other category)
  • Checks being applied to multiple major categories (I've since learned the MLS prevents this now, but it seems I was able to do this before because I saw it yesterday)
  • Other missed expenses on the CUFS that were applied to the Budget category and never entered
Our stake doesn't do budget carry-overs, so we are starting fresh. I'm kind of leaning in the direction of just letting it go and doing the budget reconciliation for 2010 every month when I do the other reconciliation.

Thanks~!

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Mon Jan 25, 2010 12:59 pm

coloradotechie wrote:DC Orders being applied to the Other category (or partially applied to the other category)


Go to the expense in View/Update Expenses and correct the category to the appropriate subcategory of Budget.

coloradotechie wrote:Checks being applied to multiple major categories (I've since learned the MLS prevents this now, but it seems I was able to do this before because I saw it yesterday)


I really don't see how this is possible. A single expense can be applied to Budget:A, Budget:B, Budget:C. Or it can be applied to Other: D, Other:E, Other:F. But MLS just won't let you apply it to Budget:X and Other:Y.

MLS has prevented this for as long as I can remember -- it is certainly not a new restriction.

coloradotechie wrote:Other missed expenses on the CUFS that were applied to the Budget category and never entered


If you missed an expense, just enter it with the correct date (the transaction date on the CUFS).


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